Rewiring the house with the lights on: three important steps to building a product delivery mindset in your in-house technical culture.
This Intelliware post for decision-makers and influencers explains how an Agile product delivery mindset can help resolve stagnant technical cultures and empower organizations to manage products, projects, and programs in a dramatically better way.
Even the most talented and hard-working product development teams can go astray. Entrenched in an ongoing battle against time, internal pressure and legacy code, systems and environments, developers eventually lose their patience and their faith, especially when they don’t produce results.
Great in-house development teams sometimes stagnate. As part of an Agile approach, leaders can empower their developers with a new delivery mindset that unlocks their creativity and productivity.
Designed by developers for developers, Agile practices empower technical professionals to produce results. Instead of relying on heavy process and documentation, Agile empowers cross-functional teams razor-focused on producing results quickly.
From daily stand-up meetings to writing User Stories, Agile practices emphasize ownership, communication, and collaboration. These practices work in totality to produce better results faster.
Because Agile development requires adhering to practices designed to facilitate collaboration and communication, few in-house development teams commit to it completely. Instead, they tend to adopt “parts of Agile” that work for them, only to find that cherry-picking development practices can confuse everyone involved.
Adhering to Agile takes commitment, time, and patience. Decision-makers must anticipate internal resistance to change and overcome fear with facts about the upside of adopting a delivery mindset.
Three steps to overcoming Agile resistance:
Step 1: Articulate the benefits to everyone
Step 2: Start small with one product team
Step 3: Revisit the customer problem
1. Articulate the benefits to everyone
As part of a bigger move to Agile, embracing a delivery mindset results in a dramatic improvement in how businesses manage their programs and projects—not just product development. However, adopting a universal delivery mindset within any organization does not happen overnight. It requires a thoughtful and respectful approach.
Above all, communicate the benefits of adopting a delivery mindset to internal stakeholders, like product owners, business managers, and HR.
Leaders embarking on a delivery mindset journey must take the time to engage with the product and business owners within the company first. By understanding their perceptions, concerns, and questions, leaders can identify the objections (emotional and otherwise) as well as potential barriers to change and win key strategic allies.
Before communicating how things will change, emphasize the why. Explain the benefits of a product delivery mindset culture to all internal stakeholders:
Renewed focus on users and their problems
Reduced churn and more technical creativity
Better ROI model from high-value developers
Integrated product, program, and project delivery
Better morale through ownership and empowerment
2. Start small with one product
Many may resist the move to Agile because this approach deploys teams differently. Instead of building and deploying one development team for all projects, a product delivery culture results in each initiative receiving its own, dedicated cross-functional team empowered to succeed.
Adopting a product mindset often requires reorganizing, redeploying, and empowering technical and business professionals to produce results.
Mindful of potential disruption, business leaders must avoid “boiling the ocean.” Instead, in the spirit of Agile, they should start with one product and learn as they go. The development and product leads can leverage what they learn to gradually build their Agile capacity—then start to take on larger projects and programs.
Single out a product and dedicate a cross-functional development team to it. Pick a relatively small set of features to implement to full release. With success, let the results justify implementing Agile across more products and beyond.
3. Revisit the customer problem
Task the product team to revisit the customer problem. Provide them with quantitative and qualitative data to better understand the user pain points and opportunities for improvement and innovation.
Quantitative data includes consumption analytics, like web traffic reports, app usage reports and market research relevant to the audience. The more facts the team knows about users and the market, the better. Developers can apply usage and duration metrics to figure out user experience improvements.
On the qualitative front, provide product teams with the opportunity to talk to users directly about how they use the solution. The more contact the team has with the customer, the better. Developers can explore and vet ideas for improvements and ensure that they are working on the most important fixes.
Revisiting the customer problem provides developers with an invitation to think big and get creative again.
Of course, enterprises embarking on an Agile journey don’t have to go it alone. Agile partners, like Intelliware, can provide Agile Adoption Services as a service. Through secure virtual co-teaming, in-house development teams work with Intelliware’s teams to learn and adopt Agile development best practices.
Get the support you need by adopting a delivery mindset. Intelliware developers can guide you through your business’ Agile transformation.